As I Began To Love Myself 


AS I BEGAN TO LOVE MYSELF by Charlie Chaplin

As I began to love myself I found that anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth. 

Today, I know this is “AUTHENTICITY”. 

As I began to love myself I understood how much it can offend somebody. As I try to force my desires on this person, even though I knew the time was not right and the person was not ready for it, and even though this person was me. 

Today I call it “RESPECT”. 

As I began to love myself I stopped craving for a different life and I could see that everything that surrounded me was inviting me to grow. 

Today I call it “MATURITY”. 

As I began to love myself I understood that at any circumstance, I am in the right place at the right time, and everything happens at exactly the right moment. So I could be calm. 

Today I call it “SELF-CONFIDENCE”. 

As I began to love myself I quit steeling my own time and stopped designing huge projects for the future. 

Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness, things I love to do and that make my heart cheer, and I do them in my own way and in my own rhythm. 

Today I call it “SIMPLICITY”. 

As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for my health – food, people, things, situations, and everything that drew me down and away from myself. At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism. 

Today I know it is “LOVE OF ONESELF”. 

As I began to love myself I quit trying to always be right, and ever since, I was wrong less of the time. 

Today I discovered that is “MODESTY”. 

As I began to love myself I refused to go on living in the past and worrying about the future. Now, I only live for the moment, where EVERYTHING is happening. 

Today I live each day, day by day, and I call it “FULFILLMENT”. 

As I began to love myself I recognized that my mind can disturb me and it can make me sick. But as I connected it to my heart, my mind became a valuable ally. 

Today I call this connection “WISDOM OF THE HEART”. 

We no longer need to fear arguments, confrontations or any kind of problems with ourselves or others. Even stars collide, and out of their crashing, new worlds are born. Today I know that is “LIFE”!
Wise words by Mr Chaplin…

In love & light,

Hayley xx 

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The Three Grand Essentials To Happiness

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Happiness is a state of mind; a state which can shift from pure contentment to complete dissatisfaction in any given moment. This change in perspective can be triggered by a number of outside circumstances seemingly out of our control; unexpected news, the loss of something dear, an ill-mannered interaction with a stranger…

At times our discomfort is prolonged and happiness can feel like a distant memory. I remember the overwhelming feeling of complete sorrow in the long months that followed my Dad’s death. I was a sinking ship. Afraid of marring others with my grief, I’d hide my devastation beneath a brave face, but on the inside I was an empty vessel lost at sea. If I knew then what I know now, I would advise my nineteen-year-old self to honour her feelings; to be unafraid of reaching out and asking for help.

If you are feeling bereft, try not to stuff down your emotions. Be kind to yourself and trust that this feeling will pass. It may not go away entirely, but as sure as the tides ebb and flow, so will your state of happiness. Nothing in life is constant. As rocky as the oceans may seem, the tides will settle in time. So don’t lose heart. It’s not your job to control the weather – life is unpredictable. But we can learn to navigate the storms, we can learn to stay afloat instead of drowning.

We can begin with the three essentials to happiness.

Something to do:

This could be as simple as petting your dog; making a start on a long neglected project or planting some vegetables to harvest in winter. Participating in life brings us back to the only moment we have – NOW. It is now that we are free from the binds of the past and worries about the future. For me, writing, walking in nature, and belly laughing with loved ones always brings me back to a state of gratitude for the moment I’m in.

Something to love:

At our core, we are pure, unbounded love. Therefore, not to love is a slow death to the soul. Yet many of us forget that we cannot give away what we don’t have. Love begins first with oneself. Not in a conceited self-righteous way, but in a way that is non-judgemental and self-accepting. When we truly love ourselves, we are able love others unconditionally. Make a promise each day to look in the mirror and say with deep compassion: “I love you.” Watch how that love flows outward to others.

Something to hope for:

Studies have shown that those who practice optimism and gratitude live longer, healthier lives. Hopeful individuals repeatedly show reduced levels of stress, anxiety and depression. Hope instills a sense of faith that everything will work out for our highest good. You don’t have to be religious to have faith in a higher power. You can have faith in yourself; faith in a loving Universe, faith in others, faith in a non-denominational Divine guidance. In short, faith and hope free us from the shackles of limiting beliefs, bringing a sense of peace to even the darkest of days.

Today, take the time to do something you love. Reflect and give thanks for this moment. Trust that everything is precisely as it is meant to be, and keep the faith.

In love & light,

Hayley xx

Alone Time

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Just as time spent with friends and loved ones is essential for a happy existence, so is time spent alone.

Honouring our alone time is essential for balance and renewal. During these stolen moments of solitude we reconnect with ourselves; our deepest dreams, wishes, hopes and desires. Taking a break from the world doesn’t mean that we care any less for our friends and family, it simply means that we love them enough to take care of ourselves first. We cannot give away what we don’t have. If we are depleted, out of touch with ourselves, tired and run down – how can we give the best of ourselves to others?

Today, take a guilt free moment of peace.

‘Compassion is not complete if it does not include oneself.’
– Allan Lokos.

Know that in serving you first, you can better serve the world. When you take the time to connect with who you are; your truest, essential nature – the love and compassion your show for yourself will ultimately bless those you come into contact with. 

In love & light,

Hayley xx

 

Gentle Strength

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I believe it takes a strong person to be gentle. There is a benign strength that exists in the tenderhearted.

I am forever grateful to have been blessed with a compassionate father figure. However brief our time together was, the lessons and blessings remain infinitely eternal. He was known as our gentle giant. All six foot two inches of him was benevolent and kind. Despite living with epilepsy, and four feisty females, he never once wavered from love and compassion. Dad’s inner strength has remained a guiding light for right action in my own life. I don’t always get it right, but I certainly do try.

Where and when can we practice gentleness in our own lives? One of my favourite quotes by the Dalai Lama states:

‘Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.’

It takes strength and courage to choose kindness; to be humble when faced with adversity; to consider the needs of others when our own are not being met, and to be vulnerable when our hearts are on the line. But when we are guided by the part of us that is honest, good-natured and true, we remind others that it is safe to do the same.

Today, find the strength to be gentle. May our thoughts be forgiving and merciful, may our words inspire and uplift, and may our actions show compassion and empathy in all circumstances – towards others as well as ourselves. Because ‘nothing is so strong as gentleness; nothing so gentle as real strength.’

In love & light,

Hayley xx

Ahhh shucks.

to-have-peace-in-ones-soul-is-the-greatest-happiness

That I can post this even with a tear stained face from having a psycho mental breakdown moment is a true sign that we are only ever one breath away from pure, immeasurable peace.

The key is to not berate ourselves. When we judge ourselves, we fail to recognise that life, beautiful pulsating life, ebbs and flows, just as sure as the tides flow and the winds blow.

So no more judging yourselves in your moments of craziness please. Smile, laugh it off! Forgive yourself. LOVE yourself! (Crazy psycho nutbag moments and all!) 😉

Peace be with you my friends xx

Open Hearts

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There are times when our hearts become closed. Just like tender skin that has come into contact with a hot stove; we contract and recoil from the pain. Our body’s defence mechanisms are designed to protect us from further discomfort; if we fail to withdraw, we risk severe burns, or worse still – death. Our natural reaction, therefore, is to retreat.

But what happens when we remain constricted, when we close our hearts through fear of ‘getting burnt’? When we build a wall of protection around us, we cut off the natural flow of love. Not only do we prevent ourselves from giving love, but we also restrict our ability to receive love. What is called for is not complete constriction, but caution; which is simply another word for ‘attention’, or ‘awareness’.

Just as the stove does not purposely set out to burn our skin, it is not usually another’s intent to inflict harm upon us (with the rare exception under extreme circumstances, of course). But more often than not, we get hurt because there was some degree of carelessness involved. Our own carelessness or that of another. Maybe the heat was turned too high and the pot had reached boiling point? Could it be that we rushed in impatiently, or approached at the wrong angle? Maybe we neglected the stove completely and a fire broke lose? Whatever our reasons for getting burnt, regardless of who was to blame, the affects need not result in the permanent closing down of our kitchens. And the same is true of our hearts.

When we remain open, we choose expansion over constriction. The doors are set ajar for love to drift through once more, filling our hearts with the sweet aroma and comfort of joy. To close our hearts is to take a pillow to our souls and smother our very essence. At the core we are love. And to restrict that life force within us is a slow death for fettered hearts. That is not to say that if you are dealing with a hazardous or faulty stove that you shouldn’t replace it, because your safety and wellbeing is paramount. But what I am saying, is that there is no need to stop cooking, to stop loving, to shut up shop and starve.

It is ok to allow ourselves to be vulnerable. We need only exercise more care and attention, that’s all. But what if I am hopeless in the kitchen? – you may ask. As a child raised on boxed food and packet noodles in working class Tameside, I reply: cooking takes practice and patience. We don’t always get it right. Sometimes it leaves our kitchens in complete disarray, or an unpleasant taste in our mouths which can linger –  but when we do manage to create something wonderful, nothing compares to the pleasure and comfort of a sumptuous home cooked meal, prepared with tender loving care.

Those are the ones that warm our hearts, soothe our souls and ‘light the whole sky.’ That, my Dear, is a love that tastes simply divine.

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.

Writing 101, Day 5: Hook ’em with a quote
kindness

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.

Dalai Lama

One thing I strive for each day, is to be kind. I don’t always get it right, but I do endeavor to be compassionate in my interactions with others; humans and animals alike. It isn’t always easy, especially when dealing with agitated or angry people. However, taking a deep breath before reacting, and ensuring that my response is honest, true and kind, helps to diffuse the situation and keep the peace most of the time. Should I falter and react from a place of ego, such as when I am tired, under pressure, or just generally feeling intolerant, then I will always seize the next opportunity to offer a heartfelt apology and to make things right again. Thankfully, forgiveness is also an act of kindness and one we should never take for granted!

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A simple act of kindness can leave impressions that last a lifetime, but the same can be said for unkind behavior; whether that’s yelling at the dog for getting under our feet, or snapping impatiently at a curious child who has asked too many questions, or ignoring a loved one’s efforts to tidy the house; all of these things can deeply affect those around us. Being kind is not as easy as it first sounds and I like to think that most people do not wish to intentionally hurt others, that the majority of the time we do so when we are unconscious of our words and actions. In these situations, Dalai Lama’s quote can remind us that it is always possible to be kind, even when we feel tired and stressed and agitated. That kindness is something we can all strive for, with a little patience and effort each day.

At the school I work in, we have three school rules:
Speak kindly to others;
Keep your hands, feet and objects to yourself (eg. never lash out at anyone); and
Follow instructions first time.

Whilst all three are important in keeping our pupils safe, the first two endeavor to teach our children from a very young age the importance of being kind to others. If we can nurture kindness in children, then we can also adopt the principles of compassion in our own lives and therefore, lead by example.

How can you be kinder in your interactions with others? How has kindness impacted your life?

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